An overbite is an orthodontic condition in which the upper teeth project or protrude over the bottom or lower teeth. This condition is caused due to the recession of the lower jaw (mandible) and protrusion of the upper jaw (maxilla). Overbite teeth are considered a type of malocclusion or “bad bite” and are generally characterized when upper teeth tend to partially to completely overlap the lower teeth. However, though mild to moderate overbites can be corrected by using dental braces or rubber bands that help pull back the teeth, correcting excessive overbite may require you go for an overbite surgery or orthognathic surgery.
#1: Overbite correction surgery or orthognathic surgery: An overview
An overbite surgery or jaw surgery is an invasive surgery that is usually chosen when braces, retainers or other nonsurgical options fail to correct a severe dental overbite. Before opting for the surgery, the dentist or the orthodontist will determine the degree of overbite. For this, the patient may be required to carry out X- rays to assess the position of the head, jawbones, and teeth. In addition, to determine the degree of the overbite, your dentist will also take molds or impression of your upper and lower jaw.
Before starting the surgery, the patient may be required to be admitted to a surgical center or to the hospital for a few days. During this period of time, several incisions are made by the surgeon inside the mouth to get an access to the jawbones. There is a reposition done of both the upper and lower jawbone to correct an overbite.
Sometimes, the surgeon may also require adding bones or have the existing jaw bones to be reshaped or removed according to specific requirements. Generally, there are some cuts made in the jawbone and then a repositioning is done of the cut pieces. Finally, Surgical plates, screws, rubber bands or wires are used keep the jaws intact in their new position. An overbite surgery may require about 3-4 months time for recovery.
#2: Why should you opt for the surgery?
Having an overbite can create great destruction among the five muscles that control the opening and closing of the jaw. Since there is tremendous pressure on these muscles when grinding, chewing and clenching, misalignment can seriously damage the aesthetic appearance and function of the teeth.
- Muscle pain, chronic jaw and Headache: When teeth are misaligned, it alters the way the facial muscles interact. In a few cases, the meniscus cartilage that acts as a buffer between jaw bones can be damaged painfully.
- Tooth Wear: When a person has an overbite, the pressure and wear on the teeth is not evenly spread. This can often lead to migraine headaches, TMJ and tooth loss.
- Difficulty in eating: When there is poor alignment of upper and lower jaw, a person often finds it difficult to swallow, chew or bite food.
- Loose Teeth: When uneven pressure is exerted constantly in unintended places or when an overbite damages the soft tissues, adjacent teeth tend to become loose in their socket, causing pain and reducing proper functionality.
#3: Side Effects
The surgery which can take about one to three hours requires a general anesthesia to be given to the patient. Some of the common problems experienced by the patients include swelling, infection, pain, bleeding and adverse reaction to anesthesia. Additionally, more involved processes can sometimes serious consequences, including numbness and damage in the nearby gums and bones. Apart from these side- effects, few patients can also experience facial stiffness, a shift of facial bones or jaw joint problems for some time.
However, the risks and complications of overbite surgery can be minimized considerably by following the post- surgical instructions given by your surgeon or dentist. Taking proper care of the surgery can significantly reduce the risk of infection and other complications.
The cost of the surgery usually depends on the severity of the condition. Generally, an overbite surgery may cost you somewhere between $8,000 to $25,000 or more depending on whether the patient requires one or both the jaws to be repositioned or on the degree of the overbite. In addition, the hospital you choose for the treatment and the complications that need to be taken care of after the surgery can also make a difference in the overall cost of the surgery.
Moreover, overbite surgery is generally considered a medical procedure rather than a cosmetic one. The fact that it is necessary to prevent more expensive and dental problems in later life, partial costs of the surgery is covered by some health insurance policies. However, since each insurance company does have its own edibility requirements, they tend to pay more for some surgeries than others.
#5: Is the surgery suitable for Children or Adults?
An overbite can be treated much more easily in children and teenagers as their jaws are developing. It is easier to manipulate jaws of young children with minimal invasive procedures. However, in cases where overbite is mostly skeletal and may require setting your jaw backward and forwards, a corrective surgery is recommended only after the child stops growing- in the late teens or early twenties. Adults too can correct the problem of overbite with the help of the surgery. However, it must be noted that the entire process can take more time when compared to that of older children.
Many people with an overbite often do not take this condition seriously. However, it is important to remember that ignoring the condition or not taking proper treatment can not only give way to serious dental problems , but can affect the way you talk and also change the structure of your face. A valuable advice for all those with an overbite is to see your dentist as soon as possible for a proper treatment. People who have opted for the overbite correction are often found improvements with their appearance, chewing and speech development. Therefore, going for an overbite corrective surgery will not only help your teeth look great and function better, but will also help you feel confident about yourself, giving you all the reason to smile more.